5 things to know for Monday, Feb. 17, in Indiana

News about flooding risks from rising temperatures and melting snow, one victim in a fatal Milford fire was identified and three other stories.

Posted on Feb. 17, 2014 at 5:00 a.m.

1. Temperatures will rise this week and may cause flooding and property damage

As spring approaches and warming temperatures creep in, the combination of melting snow and ice could result in flooding and damages to homes and businesses.

Right now there’s up to 3½ inches of water equivalent in the snow packed throughout northern Indiana, Patrick Murphy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said. That much water would be unable to penetrate the frozen ground if a sudden warm-up were to occur.

The county is offering free self-service sandbag operations at three locations around the county: County Highway Garage on C.R. 7; New Paris Boy Scout Camp on C.R. 146; and Elkhart Street Department on 17th Street.

2. And despite the temperatures rising, water lines and pipes could still freeze this week

Goshen Water Utility issued a system-wide freeze warning for this week.

The water utility has determined the frost line is currently 4½ feet deep and the temperature underground will not change as rapidly as the air temperature. The department recommends customers leave a single cold water faucet running inside their home or business in a small stream similar to the size of a pencil lead because running water is less likely to freeze.

The freeze warning will be in effect until further notice.

In Elkhart, Mayor Dick Moore is asking residents for cooperation in clearing snow from catch basins and fire hydrants. 

Removing snow from around catch basins, Moore said, will allow water from melting snow to better reach the catch basins and reduce the chances of flooding streets, which can hide submerged potholes. He’s specifically asking residents to clear any basins near their property.

3. One victim from the Milford body shop fire identified

The Kosciusko County Coroner's Office has confirmed that Annalu Nunez was one of the two victims of a deadly fire at Medina's Body Repair Shop on Thursday, Feb. 13.

Medical examiners from the Northeast Indiana Forensic Center concluded the male died of smoke inhalation and are continuing their investigation to achieve a positive identification of the male victim.

4. Supporters of Elkhart Schools' referendums will "Walk Two Miles in Their Shoes" Monday morning

At least 86 supporters of Elkhart Community Schools' referendums, one of which will fund transportation costs, will walk two miles to school on Monday morning, Feb. 17.

"I think it's important to put ourselves in our kids' shoes," Eileen Corson, an ECS teacher, said, later clarifying that she does not have children of her own. "These are little kids doing what we as adults wouldn't do. We are forcing them."

The Walk Two Miles in Their Shoes event starts at 10 a.m. Monday. The group plans to walk from Monger Elementary School to Central High School.

5. Excavating company faces $17,500 in fees after worker dies on the job

The Indiana Department of Labor is proposing that R&R Excavating pay $17,500 in fines after an investigation into an employee's death revealed several violations.

The Elkhart Truth's news partners WNDU reported that Mark Ellsworth, 22, of Mishawaka died after he was struck by a tree while clearing an area near the University of Notre Dame's campus.

The Dept. of Labor cited five violations for the fines. The company has 15 days to either pay or challenge the fines.


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